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Sep 30, 2012 10:00am EDT
: asner plays carl, a german immigrant who works as an exterminator. >> i have a tragic past. i carry a lot of guilt. >> reporter: but yet he manages to be both a comic relief and kind of one of a profound characters in this show. >> yeah. i'm a switch-hitter. >> i don't know who made the earth. i woke up one morning alive and it's here. i make the best of it. >> reporter: ed asner did not set out to be an actor. growing up in kansas city as the son of orthodox jewish immigrants, he made a name for himself playing high school football and was headed for a career as a reporter until a conversation with his journalism teacher. >> i wouldn't. he said why not? he said you can't make a living. oh, okay. okay. so i went on to become the overnight sensation as an actor that you see before you. >> reporter: in fact as asner told me in our conversation at a fame broadway restaurant, his assent was anything but overnight. after starring roles in college productions at the university of chicago, he dropped out to make it as an actor while supporting himself with odd jobs. >> my first job was in an
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